Seaside Surprise is a magazine story.
Thomas loves school days. He steams busily along collecting the young passengers on the school special.
One morning, the Fat Controller comes to see Thomas at Tidmouth Sheds. As it is the school holidays, Thomas is given the day off after he has been to the wash-down. The Fat Controller thinks Thomas will like the rest, but Thomas looks very sad.
Soon, Thomas' paintwork is shining in the sun as his wash-down is complete, but he does not cheer up. Thomas tells Emily that he misses the children. Emily feels sorry for Thomas and speaks to the Fat Controller.
That afternoon, Percy brings Thomas some carriages. Thomas thinks there must be a mistake; the coaches cannot possibly be for him on a day off. The Fat Controller appears and says that there is no mistake and there are lots of children waiting to be collected. Thomas is puzzled until he sees the children waiting on the platform with buckets and spades. The Fat Controller has arranged for Thomas to take the children on a special trip to the beach.